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Betrayal - Essay Example

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Among all the plays written by William Shakespeare, the tragedy of King Lear is deservedly considered to be the brightest illustration of betrayal as a key motif threading the whole story. Written in 1605 or 1606 (British Library), the play became a combination and adaptation of…
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Download file to see previous pages Focusing on the theme of devotion and betrayal, William Shakespeare chose to deploy it in several story arcs at once, varying it in scale. Betrayal as a recurring theme is present throughout the play, being a thread that connects characters and events incorporated in it. Lear, the elderly king of Britain, is about to resign, and thus wants to pass the prosperous kingdom to one of his daughters who loves him most. Whereas the two elder daughters, Goneril and Regan, choose to flatter and feast the father’s ears with honey words, the youngest daughter, Cordelia, preferred to express love to her father decently and modestly insisting that love must be proved with deeds, not with pleasing words: “I am sure my loves more richer than my tongue” (Shakespeare). The standpoint of the youngest daughter infuriated Lear who loved her most and expected to hear more than he actually did and made him divide the kingdom between Goneril and Regan outcasting Cordelia. This was the turning point that triggered numerous consequences and tragic losses. However, there is a secondary storyline focusing on the tragedy of the earl Gloucester and his sons – Edgar and Edmund. Being a bastard and having morbid ambitions for respectable position and power in Britain, Edmund ventured upon the blatant deception against his father and brother trying to sow discord between them and gain Gloucester’s favor. The overwhelming lies on the side of Goneril, Regand and Edmund results in awful betrayal and deaths. At the same time, it can be seen that the motif of betrayal and its consequences is traced in different situations and levels of narration – from as narrow as a separate family to as wide scale as national affairs. Shakespeare demonstrates the fruits of wickedness “in both the familial and political realms—here, brothers betray brothers and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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